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How far we’ve come: The history of women’s football and the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup™

7 minute read

The history of women’s football is as rich as it is turbulent. Right from the very start it captured the Victorian-England public’s attention and that’s exactly where our new Hyundai FIFA Women's World Cup™ campaign begins. Hyundai has been a proud sponsor of the FIFA Women's World Cup™ since 1999. We proactively support initiatives that pursue equal opportunity. Read on and be mesmerized by how our Goal of the Century protagonist dribbles through more than 130 years of women’s football history.

More than 130 years of women’s football history in under 60 seconds

We launch our sponsorship of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup™ with a grand new film that covers more than 130 years of women’s football history. The story relays the rise of women’s football—beginning at its 19th century roots—through the actions of a young protagonist in pursuit of her passion. As our star is preparing for a penalty kick in 1971, we are transported to the future to a penalty kick at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ finals. Sports fans from the last 130 years watch in great anticipation in hopes that she will score.

The star of the film dressed in a red blouse holding a football on her leg while sitting against a billboard in 1895 Crouch End, London.

The film is truly a remarkable tribute to all those who have played a part in the history of women's football, including Hyundai who has been a fervent supporter of the game since 1999. With a little nod to the past, eagle-eyed Hyundai fans might see the Pony in the 1970s scene, the IONIQ 5 with fans from today and tomorrow, or maybe even the latest IONIQ 6 with a young woman who represents our future generations.
It’s especially monumental as it showcases Hyundai as a proud supporter of the future generation of women’s football – cheering for the dreams of tomorrow.

This film tells the story of ceaseless determination, passion, and progress. It pays homage to the women who not only dominated the sport but changed it. Forever.

Image of Latino, Indian, and African fans dressed in their favorite football team’s colors cheering the women’s teams on with an IONIQ 5 lighting up the parking lot.
Beige 4-door Hyundai Pony with driver’s side window open parked on a sand beach with beach grass in background.

The history of women’s football

Modern football was established in England in the 19th century. Nettie Honeyball grew up in that same period which widely perceived sports to be unsuitable for women. In 1895, she proved that notion wrong by putting an ad in newspapers calling for women footballers. Around 30 brave women responded, and that launched the world’s first women’s club, namely the British Ladies' Football Club.

Women’s football teams grew in popularity in the United Kingdom but, in 1902, when the Council of the Football Association (FA) prohibited member clubs to host charitable women’s football matches, the women’s sport suffered a great setback. Women's football subsequently underwent a transformative period in its history.

Eventually, when women's football again began to gain popularity, the Women's Football Association (WFA) was founded in England in 1969. In 1971, France and the Netherlands took part in the first-ever FIFA-recognized women’s international match. 20 years later, the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ was established.

Black and white poster of woman football legend Nettie Honeyball in turn-of-the-19th-century football attire looking down at a modern football in color.

Nettie Honeyball, the founder of the first women’s football club.

Scene of woman football team in uniform (white blouses, red tie, dark skirts and high-laced boots) being stopped by a policeman in 1921 during an underground football match.

Hyundai Partners with the
FIFA Women’s World Cup™

Hyundai’s partnership with FIFA Women’s World Cup™ commenced in 1999, offering a significant opportunity to communicate the brand message through the universally beloved and fervent sport of football. Under our brand vision of "Progress for Humanity," we deliver the message that everyone deserves equal opportunities in life. In practical terms, we have supported the game by providing official tournament vehicles to players to increase mobility during the competition.

South Korean women’s football team in red and blue jerseys huddling in celebration on the pitch at the Hyundai-sponsored World Cup.
Dutch women’s football team in bright orange match attire huddling in celebration on the pitch at the Hyundai-sponsored World Cup.

As a sustainable mobility partner, Hyundai has renewed its partnership with FIFA until 2030. We will continue to dream and strive for a better world, collaborating with Boston Dynamics and Supernal, to showcase the future of sustainable mobility.

The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup™ has already kicked off. Knowing the long road of self-determination of the last 130 years, maybe we will watch the tournament with new-found appreciation. Either way, we are certainly excited to see what new history will be written once again in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup™.

Closeup of Hyundai film’s protagonist wearing a Goal of the Century jersey under stadium lights kissing a football for luck before a penalty kick.

With passion and determination, the seemingly impossible can be accomplished. Find out more about the passion behind women’s football and the ninth FIFA Women's World Cup™ by following @hyundai on Instagram.


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